As American culture tries its hand at celebrating during the holidays, it is no surprise that you just don’t fit in. You do not get stoned, drunk or high on anything. Their way of celebrating holds no place for you. You do not fit.
A social pariah, that is what you are to them.
“We have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4 NKJV).
You are not indulging in the big bashes of Babylon. You do not make salacious or edgy videos. You do not conform. By naming the Name of Christ, you stand apart. You realize how embarrassing and foolish Christians look when they try to blend their faith with worldly pleasure. But, if you are feeling culturally ostracized for sticking to your convictions, you should rejoice!
By naming the Name of Christ, you stand apart.
I will tell you why, by sharing with you a story from ancient Rome. A lonely guard stands outside a wealthy Patrician’s villa during a wild party. His master has retained him to protect the rich in their gluttonous, and licentious revelry.
As he stands guard, two worlds begin to collide. On one side, he hears the lewd laughter spilling out of the opulent garden. On the other side, he hears singing coming up from a grate in the street. Beneath his feet are the Christians in the catacombs, singing to the Lord.
He is being pulled by both the lewd laughter, and the hymns. The attraction to the laughter of the wealthy is easy to explain. It embodies his ambition to rise above his station and experience the pleasures of Rome.
The other pull is hard to explain. But it is equally powerful―and the pull is growing steadily more powerful.
By all accounts, the laughter from the party inside the villa should win this competition. Surely, wealth and gratification are preferred to the stench of city sewers, underground cemeteries, and a life spent in hiding.
But the singing has a wonderfully strange and growing influence on him. It speaks to the deepest part of him, but, he does not know why. How can the music of martyrs drown out the laughter of the rich and shameless? Can their joy expose the emptiness of revelry, and the fleeting glory of Rome?
How many nights has he stood on this very spot, passing the time by calculating his plans for becoming rich and powerful? But tonight, he is not counting the days, he is counting the cost.
He can do without the drunkenness and momentary pleasure, but he cannot live without the peace and joy that the music is promising.
Abandoning all for Christ, he marches to the grate in the street, dislodges the filthy and rusted ironworks, and steps down into the life that will never cease and will never fail him.
Remember, as you are surrounded by empty pleasure, why you began to follow Christ in the first place.
Remember the new world that is coming. Do not forget the prize! Remember the promise! Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
That Roman guard decided that the party cannot compare to the celebration. Why stake your life on a world that is coming apart, instead of the Kingdom that is coming together?
Today’s pleasure cannot compare to the joy of the Return of Christ.
This world’s thrills cannot compare to that day when we shall see Him, face to face! Nothing can compare to remaining true to Christ. That is why Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!”
Will you be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Most of all remember this: That when you take that stand and bear the reproach you will win lost souls to Christ. Your very life becomes that music that makes men and woman want to leave all to serve the King of Kings.
Rejoice, if you feel culturally ostracized. It is proof that you have chosen Joy and Life instead of vanity and death!